A semi-pro soccer club is taking Bruce Arena's advice ... swapping out the national anthem before games for another tune.
National Premier Soccer League team Tulsa Athletic announced Wednesday its decision to eliminate the "Star-Spangled Banner" from pre-game activities at home games ... saying it will play "This Land Is Your Land" by Woody Guthrie instead.
Why? Here's the statement from the club ...
"After carefully reviewing 'The Star-Spangled Banner' lyrics and meaning, including the 3rd verse which mentions 'No refuge could save the hireling and slave / From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave ... ' Tulsa Athletic came to the decision that the song does not align with the club’s core values."
"While this verse is rarely sung, Tulsa Athletic does not believe 'The Star-Spangled Banner' represents or unites their diverse players, fans and community."
"We believe 'This Land Is Your Land' not only captures a powerful patriotic sentiment, but that it does so in a far more inclusive way."
Tulsa Athletic co-owner Sonny Dalesandro says TLIYL "speaks to this country being built and shared by every person of every race, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation. It represents a future Tulsa Athletic is committed to striving for."
The team will kick off its new tradition during a special Equality Cup match against Minneapolis City at Veterans Park in Tulsa. No date has been set.
Of course, the news comes in the wake of ex-Team USA Soccer coach Bruce Arena saying the playing of the national anthem before games is "inappropriate."
"Think about it," Arena said. "In Major League Soccer, most of the players that are standing on the field during the national anthem are international players. They are not even Americans."